ONGC escape to victory over CR; Indian Navy also wins

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Mumbai, Sep 15 (UNI) ONGC, Delhi, survived a late charge to fashion a thrilling 3-2 win over Central Railway, Mumbai, in the eighth All India Guru Tegh Bahadur Gold Cup Hockey Tournament, that got underway at the Mahindra Stadium here today.

After taking a 3-0 lead by the 46th minute in the second half, ONGC endured a strong challenge in the last ten minutes as Central struck two goals in as many minutes to keep their hopes alive in a fast paced encounter.

ONGC began with a flourish and put the Central Railway defence under pressure from the start with Mandeep Antil missing the target by a whisker in the 15th minute, after being put through brilliantly by Parmod Kumar on the right.

But they did not have to wait long to be rewarded as India's star drag flicker Diwakar Ram fired home off their first penalty corner two minutes later.

Ram added another in the 34th minute to allow ONGC a comfortable lemon break but not before Central missed two opportunities through Deepak Lakra, whose stiff shot was saved by goalkeeper Kamaldeep Singh and Ajaz Qureshi, who shot wide in a melee.

While Central made a brave effort to come back into the match, ONGC took charge again and Amarjeet Partap made it safe for his team with an impressive field goal in the 46th minute.

But Central did not give up as they chose to attack with just ten minutes remaining. Their effort was soon rewarded with two quick goals in the 60th and 61st minutes that stunned ONGC.

Nilesh Mane slammed home off their first penalty corner and Babar Khan beat a crowded defence to bring the match alive, but ONGC managed to hold on dearly to the narrow lead.

Earlier, Indian Navy opened their campaign with a fluent 5-3 win via the tie-breaker over Bombay Customs after the teams were locked 1-1 at full-time.

Customs took the lead on the stroke of half time through Junaid Jada but the advantage did not last long. Eight minutes into the second half, Surendra Kumar slotted in the equaliser to keep Navy in the match.

In the second round, Navy took on Hyderabad XI, who earned a bye.

In the opening match of the tournament, Maharashtra State Police trounced Sports Authority of India 5-2, after leading 2-0 at half time.

Vinod Manugade and Niyaz Ullal scored a brace each, while Vinay Pal and Nabad Bahadur reduced the margin for SAI.

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